The Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs have allowed companies like ARES Security to support the missions of the Department of Defense (DoD) and accelerate the fielding of innovative technologies. ARES Security currently supports the DoD with innovative technologies that are critical to defend against Strategic Challenges and threats to our homeland and partners. These technologies, including modeling and simulation, artificial intelligence, command and control, and autonomous operations for robotic and UAS platforms are essential to project the power necessary to protect our national security interests. The SBIR program has enabled ARES Security to develop the technology that not only supports the DoD, but 67% of the North American commercial nuclear fleet, 35 of the largest ports, and some of the largest publicly traded companies as well.
Unfortunately, it is still very hard for small businesses like ARES Security to sustain research and development (R&D) efforts and remain competitive without additional funding support from the SBIR program. Because of lengthy POM budget cycles there can be a huge gap between a Phase II SBIR project where the technology is successfully prototype and funding availability through a Phase III and/or program of record to procure the technology for DoD operations. This gap is an Achilles heel for any small business trying to bring value to the DoD and can inhibit the DoD from adopting the innovative technologies that are increasingly important to our global strategic position.
This year’s National Defense Authorization Act, which will be voted on after the midterm elections, includes provisions that would increase funding limits for small business under the SBIR / STTR programs. This authorization, coupled with innovative programs such as the AFWERX TACFI/STRATFI, should be leveraged to increase the pace of technology innovation within the DoD.
“ARES Security strongly supports the provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that would expand funding opportunities for small businesses under the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs,” said Ben Eazzetta, ARES Security Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer. “This is an important step to begin to shorten the transition from proven innovative technologies into operational DoD systems.”